Well, I did it! I completed the Manitoba Half Marathon. It was difficult, to say the least! I am known for my positive stories and positive outlook on everything including running.
I have been training for over 6 months for a series of half marathons. I did Las Vegas in February after training all winter, then the Vancouver marathon on May 1 and I just completed the Manitoba Marathon yesterday.
This Marathon was challenging because of the heat and the challenge it posed to the organizers. I do not think anyone was expecting 37’C or 100’F for the daytime temperatures.
So how did it go?
I flew into Winnipeg on Friday. I am from Winnipeg and know the city well. My family lives in Winnipeg and I stayed with my mom. And I visited with my sister’s family. It was great to see them all!
I enjoyed the weekend touring around my old hangouts. And on Saturday night it was time to prepare for the Marathon.
I went through my normal preparation. I laid out my clothes the night before. I asked my mom to help me by sewing on a Canada and Ukraine patch on my sleeves to honour Canada and Ukraine, a country fighting for their independence and freedom. The charity I chose for this marathon was Mriya Aid, www.mriyaaid.org.
I was in bed early, and more of water with electrolytes the night before. I set my alarm for 5:30am and but I was up at 5am.
I drank more water and with some electrolytes in the morning. And then got dressed. I usually do not eat before a race and did not this time.
I got a ride to the start but the traffic was backed up and not moving close to the entrance of the university. So we made right turn onto Pembina Highway, and then a U turn to get closer. The organizers of the event were not allowing cars into the University grounds, so I was dropped off at the closest intersection.
I walked in with other participants. It was a longer walk to the start area than I anticipated. When I arrived, I had 10 minutes to spare which was good. The countdown was on, I had time to use the portable washrooms which there were plenty of at the start.
I was glad we were on time as the last event, the Vancouver Marathon we were delayed an hour because of a bomb threat at the start of the course.
The anthem singer was stuck in traffic which was a first for the event, and the runners sang O Canada in lieu of a singer. It sounded pretty good to me.
Then were were off. It was hot and sunny at start time. It was 25’C and the humidity was high. The first 5 kilometres were really good. I was running at a good pace and a little better than most of my starts. I was holding myself back a bit and checking my watch for my pace. I wanted to be average to a little below average for pace at the start.
The first aid station had water and I drank some. I stopped to take a video. Then I was off to continue my pace. All good.
At around 7km I started to feel the heat and humidity. I was sweating more than normal and knew hydration was going to be key going forward. Around 8km I reached a water station but they were out of water and frantically trying to replenish. I waited and finally got a half cup, but I usually take 2 at each station.
Shortly after I started to feel “salty” and the perspiration was drying up. I knew this was a bad sign and needed immediate attention. So at the next aid station I took more water than normal, 3 cups and continued. But at this time I decided to slow down as temperatures were int he high 20’s or 80-90’F.
I ran mostly but started to walk a bit so I did not dehydrate. And as I progressed, I felt better and better. Around 10km, I made the turn to head back. It was my old stomping grounds, the clinic and property I used to own at 848 Jubilee. I stopped to take some pictures and remember the time there.
Then, I heard a police officer’s voice, “The race has been cancelled, stop running and walk back to the stadium but stay on the course.” I had never heard this before during a marathon. I did not know what to do. But chose to carry on, walking 10km could take 2 hours.
The heat was increasing and it was in the high 20’s (85-90F) as I started to run again. Then I walked a bit, kept running, and was glad to see the aid stations still open. I grabbed extra water, NUUN and Gatorade as it was available.
Shortly after, I ended up at St. John’s Ravenscount, where my children went to school. I took a few ore pictures, and physically felt pretty good, I was recovering from the dehydration even thought it was getting hotter.
At around 15km, I stopped at a water station, and heard the person in charge yelling “Race cancelled, continue at your own risk”.
I thought, “what does that mean?, is there no more water, is the stadium closed? And no medals?”. I chose to continue, and sooner after I was running on Pembina Highway. There were medics on bikes, police on motorcycles, and people cheering us on.
Some residents had garden hoses and sprayers out to hose runners down, I declined as I don’t like to get wet and run, but appreciated the gesture.
I ran down to the University and then headed toward the stadium. I was excited to see it in the distance, and knew that I was not too far away.
I approached and was directed under the stadium and cheered on by the gate staff. I went through and entered the field. To my surprise, I could see the people in the stands and the finish line. I was so excited! I ran to the finish recording my final steps. And once I crossed the finish line, I was congratulated with a medal and warm greeting. I walked to the end zone, and rested there for a few minutes. I was exciting to be at field level as I am a big football fan.
Then, I made my way to get some food and drink, and then exited the stadium. It was a long walk back to be picked up (about 2km) and I wished there was better system for this, especially after a race like this one.
I am so happy that I participated in this event. It will go down in the record books. It was not my best marathon, but could have been the most memorable one for me.
Now the training starts for Rock and Roll Tampa Bay, October 1st!